Irresistible Smoky Marinated Tempeh – Connoisseurus Veg

This marinated tempeh is seriously packed with flavor! It’s super easy to whip up and perfect for sandwiches, salads, or snacking. The best part? The super simple marinade works for a variety of tempeh cooking methods — frying, baking, or even grilling!

Plate of marinated tempeh on a white wood surface with spoon on the side.

Tempeh is hard sell for some folks. I know: I’m married to one of them.

I get it. Tempeh is weird! Maybe you’re even wondering what tempeh is, in which case I’d refer you to my complete guide to tempeh. And those of you who are familiar with tempeh may have noticed that it’s something of an acquired taste.

The trick is to cook your tempeh using methods that make it absolutely delicious. One of my go-to methods is to soak my tempeh in a killer marinade.

Good news: today I’m sharing a recipe for an awesome easy tempeh marinade. It’s super simple, but packed with smoky flavor, and works with all kinds of cooking methods. Whether you’re looking to make some baked tempeh, grilled tempeh, fried tempeh, or even tempeh for a stir-fry or sandwich, this is your new go-to recipe!

Jump to:

What You’ll Need

  • Soy sauce. Tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
  • Maple syrup.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Another variety of vinegar could be substituted in a pinch, but will change the flavor slightly.
  • Garlic.
  • Smoked paprika.
  • Cumin.
  • Sriracha sauce. This adds a little kick to your tempeh. Leave it out for a milder dish, or substitute with another type of hot sauce if you’d like!
  • Tempeh. Tempeh comes in different varieties, like regular, multigrain, and flax. This recipe will work with any of them!
  • High-heat oil. You’ll only need this if you’re frying or grilling your tempeh. Feel free to use just about any type of high heat oil, such as canola, corn, or coconut oil.

How to Marinate Tempeh

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d prefer to skip right to the full recipe!

  • Mix up your marinade. Stir your soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, minced garlic, spices, and sriracha together in a small bowl or container.
  • Prepare your tempeh. Optional step: steam the tempeh. This is absolutely not required, but helps to remove some bitterness. I talk in detail about how to do this in my tempeh guide. You’ll also need to cut your tempeh up before marinating it. I diced mine, but you could cut it into slabs, triangles, or just about any shape you like!
  • Soak the tempeh. Place the tempeh into a shallow dish or container and pour the marinade over it.
Two stages of making marinated tempeh: hand stirring marinade together, and hand pouring marinade over tempeh.
  • Let your tempeh soak from anywhere between 30 minutes and 24 hours. If marinating it longer than 2 hours, be sure to cover the container and place it in the fridge. You’ll also want to give it a stir from time to time in order to redistribute the ingredients.
Tempeh marinating in a glass dish with spoon.

Cooking Methods

Now take your marinated tempeh and cook it using one of the following methods. Never eat tempeh raw — it absolutely needs to be cooked before consumption!

Bake It

For baked tempeh, simply arrange the tempeh on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pop it in the oven, and bake the pieces for about 10 to 15 minutes on each side.

Baked tempeh cubes on parchment paper.

Pan-Fry It

Lightly oil a nonstick skillet, heat it up, then place your tempeh cubes in the skillet. Cook them for about 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 5 minutes, until they’re nice and browned on the tops and bottoms. If you’ve got some leftover marinade, drizzle it over the tempeh pieces while they cook.

Spoon drizzling marinde over tempeh in a skillet.

Grill It

If you’re making grilled marinated tempeh, first make sure you’ve cut your pieces to be nice and large so they don’t fall through the grates of your grill! Lightly oil the grill and build a medium flame, then add the tempeh pieces and grill them for about 5 minutes on each side, until they’re nice and hot and slightly charred.

Leftovers & Storage

Store any leftover marinated tempeh in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Tip: This stuff is great for meal-prep! Cook it up in big batches so you’ve got some on hand for sandwiches, salads, vegan meal bowls…or whatever you’re thinking of making!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

Absolutely! Just substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce.

Can I use this marinade for tofu?

You sure can! Just follow the marinating and cooking instructions from my marinated tofu recipe.

Where can I buy tempeh?

Look for it in the refrigerated area of your supermarket’s natural foods section. It’s usually right near the tofu.

Close up of Smoky Marinated Tempeh on a plate with chives.

More Easy Tempeh Recipes

Like this recipe? If so, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter. And please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you make it!

Plate of Smoky Marinated Tempeh with Chives on Top and Spoon on the Side.

Irresistible Smoky Marinated Tempeh

This marinated tempeh is seriously packed with flavor! It’s super easy to whip up and perfect for sandwiches, salads, or snacking. The best part? The super simple marinade works for a variety of tempeh cooking methods — frying, baking, or even grilling!


  • 3
    soy sauce
  • 2
    maple syrup
  • 1
    garlic clove,
  • 1
    smoked paprika
  • ½
    ground cumin
  • 1
    sriracha sauce
  • High-heat oil
    such as canola or corn oil (for pan-fried and grilled tempeh only)
  • 1
    (8 ounce or 227 gram) package


  1. Stir the soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, garlic, paprika, cumin, and sriracha together in a small bowl or container.

  2. Cut the tempeh into pieces of your choice of size and shape. For baked or pan-fried, small cubes or triangles work well. For grilled tempeh, larger slabs are preferable.

  3. Place the tempeh into a small bowl or shallow dish. Pour the marinade over it and gently stir a few times to distribute everything.

  4. Allow the tempeh to marinate from anywhere between 30 minutes and 24 hours. Be sure to cover and chill the tempeh if you’re planning to marinate for more than 2 hours.

For Baked Tempeh

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Arrange the tempeh pieces in an even layer on the baking sheet.

  3. Bake the tempeh for 20 to 25 minutes until darkened slightly, turning the pieces about halfway through.

For Pan-Fried Tempeh

  1. Coat the bottom of a medium nonstick skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and place it over medium heat.

  2. When the oil is hot, add the tempeh pieces in an even layer. Cook the tempeh for about 10 minutes, flipping the pieces about halfway through, until the pieces are lightly browned and caramelized. Optionally, drizzle the pieces with any leftover marinade while they cook.

For Grilled Tempeh

  1. Lightly oil your grill and build a medium fire.

  2. Place the tempeh pieces on the grill and cook them for about 10 minutes, until darkened and slightly charred, turning them halfway through and drizzling them with any leftover marinade periodically.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition information does not include oil (since oil is not included in every variation of the recipe).

Nutrition Facts

Irresistible Smoky Marinated Tempeh

Amount Per Serving (2 ounces (¼ of recipe))

Calories 146
Calories from Fat 57

% Daily Value*

Fat 6.3g10%

Saturated Fat 1.3g7%

Sodium 683mg28%

Potassium 300mg9%

Carbohydrates 13.6g5%

Fiber 6.6g26%

Sugar 6.2g7%

Calcium 77mg8%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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